This Saturday marked a big moment in the life of our little family: For the first time in more than three years, John didn't have any homework hanging over his head. On Friday night he turned in a 50-page essay to complete the last class in his graduate program. He's done.
I'm pretty sure he's going to give me some guff for even mentioning this in public. As big of an achievement it is for him to complete his second master's degree, it's also been one of the hardest challenges we've faced as a couple. Going to school on top of a cross-country move, working more than one job, going through pregnancy for the first time, bringing home our first baby, a ruptured appendix … it has been challenging to say the least. I have not always been the most supportive partner. I have had fits of rage and jealousy when the laptop comes out and my husband pours over books while I handle bedtime or unload the dishwasher, my least favorite tasks (and don't even get me started on how Manda! Needs! Attention!). Over and over I have had to remind myself (sometimes unsuccessfully) that he is in school to make life better for our family, that he's studying something he's passionate about, he's being obedient to something he feels that God's called him to do.
But I had to draw the line at Saturdays. I wanted Saturdays for our family.
As a pastor's family, Sundays are not days of rest for us. Other people sleep in late, make pancakes; go to church and then have a long, leisurely lunch; go to the farmer's market; watch America's Funniest Videos and eat popcorn (they do, don't they?) while our family works. John is up by six most Sundays, gone by seven or eight, and I am at home on my own with Syd, doing my best to get her fed, cleaned up and dressed, and packed into the car. We go to church and John is on the worship team, praying, and delivering the message. Afterwards everyone needs to talk to him about something or other, while I pack up the squirmy and now-grumpy-tired-hungry Syd and get myself home. I put the baby down and try to scrape something together for lunch, but not before changing into my sweats for the rest of the day. By two we're all just wiped out. In the afternoon we maybe read the paper or wander around Best Buy, but when Sunday night rolls around there's usually a meeting to go to and the laptop comes back out and it's time to do the baby's nighttime routine. And then it's Monday all over again.
But Saturdays are our day of rest. For a long time we didn't have what is traditionally called a "sabbath." And it was killing us. So we took the initiative and decided that Saturdays would be our day of rest, the day we spent together as a family. If other people wanted to hang out on Saturdays? We would make an exception if it was something that we really, really wanted to do, but otherwise? Too bad. John made his best effort to get his work done by Friday night so Saturdays would be clear. We'd do things around the house, go out to breakfast, just spend time together. Those are times that I have come to treasure in the last few years.
This Saturday we went to the aquarium. We had a fussy morning (and I don't mean Sydney, unfortunately), but we set out anyway. By the time we made it to the sea lions and seals, the magic of Saturdays broke through the ice of the stress of the week. It started to sink in to me that on nights and weekends there's a very good possibility that I have my husband back. That despite me and my crankiness and constant railing against this one more thing he completed what he set out to do. He finished grad school.
And that, my friends? Is a good day of rest after many, many days of work.
Proud of you, Bud.